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Mar 10, 2018 09:20 PM IST | Source:

News Highlights: E-way bill rollout finalised; India, France ink 14 pacts; Prabhu becomes aviation minister

This blog will keep track of key global and local developments impacting business and markets through the day. Important local and global political developments will also find resonance here.

  • Mar 10, 09:20 PM (IST)

    With that, we bring our coverage to a close.

  • Mar 10, 08:53 PM (IST)

    India and France today inked 14 pacts, including in key areas of defence, nuclear energy and protection of classified information besides resolving to boost cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi asserting that the synergy between the two sides was from "land to sky".

    The agreements were signed after extensive talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and French President Emmanuel Macron, including on ways to intensify counter-terrorism efforts.

    The two leaders strongly condemned terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, including cross-border terrorism, and terror-related incidents in France and India.

    Reaffirming their commitment to further Indo-French ties, the two leaders decided to take it to a new level by agreeing to hold biennial summits between the Prime Minister of India and the President of France, a joint statement issued after Modi-Macron talks said.

    Addressing a joint press event with Macron, Modi said France is among the "most trusted" defence partners and that today's pact on reciprocal logistic support between the armed forces was a "golden step" in defence relations.

    On his part, Macron, who arrived here yesterday on his maiden visit to India, said defence cooperation between the two countries now has a "new significance".

    Macron also said, "We want India as our first strategic partner here, and we want to be India's first strategic partner in Europe, and even in the western world."

  • Mar 10, 08:07 PM (IST)

    India and France today inked an an agreement to expedite the Jaitapur nuclear power plant project, with the aim of commencing work at the site around the year-end.

    Prime Minister Narendra Modi and French President Emmanuel Macron encouraged the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (NPCIL) and EDF France to accelerate the contractual discussions for the project, which is yet to see a consensus on key aspects such as credit limits.

    The two leaders emphasised on the need for the project to generate cost-effective electricity, remain economical and competitive financing package from the French side with reliable, uninterrupted and continued access to guaranteed fuel supply for the lifetime of the power plant.

    They also agreed to further their collaboration on transfer of technology and cost-effective localisation efforts of manufacturing in India.

    "The two leaders reiterated the goal of commencing works at the Jaitapur site around the end of 2018, and encouraged NPCIL and EDF to accelerate the contractual discussions in that respect," a joint statement released after the delegation-level talks said.

    The EDF and the NPCIL is yet to agree on the cost per unit and the credit aspect, which France will give to India for building the plant in Maharashtra.

    Indian sources also said that unless the EDF is out of its financial mess, the NPCIL will not go ahead with a final contract or a General Framework Agreement with the French company.

    Besides defence and space, nuclear energy is a key component of the Indo-French strategic partnership.

  • Mar 10, 07:07 PM (IST)

    No-frills airline SpiceJet today inked USD 12.5 billion deal with French major Safran Group for CFM aircraft engines.

    At current exchange rate, the deal is worth more than Rs 81,000 crore and is one of the biggest in the aviation sector.

    SpiceJet and Safran Group, have now finalised the purchase of LEAP-1B engines to power a total of 155 Boeing 737 MAX planes, along with spare engines to support the fleet, according to a release.

    CFM engines are manufactured by CFM International, a joint venture between Safran and General Electric.

  • Mar 10, 06:41 PM (IST)

    NCP chief Sharad Pawar today cautioned Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis that his government would be held responsible if jailed party leader Chhagan Bhujbal suffered any "untoward fate in the days to come".

    In a letter written to Fadnavis, Pawar pointed out that 71-year-old Bhujbal was languishing behind bars since March 14, 2016 (in a Prevention of Money Laundering Act case) and was in a fragile state of health.

    "I am saddened to record that if Chhagan Bhujbal suffers any untoward fate in the days to come, your government will be held responsible for the same," Pawar stated.

    He said he did not expect anything, apart from proper medical treatment, which was also Bhujbal's constitutional right.

    "Knowing fully well the overall health condition of Chhagan Bhujbal and his advance age, I am sure you will direct that prompt steps be taken to ensure that proper medical treatment be administered to him," he stated.

  • Mar 10, 05:17 PM (IST)

    Meanwhile, Shiv Sena leaders are today meeting 30,000 farmers who are coming to Mumbai from all over Maharashtra.

    The farmers are protesting against the state government for 'failing to fulfil its promises', and have reached Thane. They intend to reach Mumbai on Monday where they will 'gherao' the assembly.

    Shiv Sena, which has been at loggerheads with its partner in the BJP-led state government, has announced its support to the farmers, as has Raj Thackeray's MNS.

  • Mar 10, 04:28 PM (IST)

    Even as the controversy over the origin of the Taj Mahal continues, an RSS thinker has now said the Jama Masjid was not built by Shah Jahan and that it was instead originally called Jamuna Mandir.

    "Taj Mahal was not built by Shah Jahan. It was a Hindu Temple. Red Fort was also not built by him," the RSS member said on NDTV's Big Fight, evoking much laughter.

    Read more.

  • Mar 10, 02:39 PM (IST)
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  • Mar 10, 01:52 PM (IST)

    PM Modi urges lawmakers to work for progress in 'aspirational' districts

    Prime Minister Narendra Modi today said "hardcore politics" of struggle and agitation is no longer as relevant as it used to be, and urged the lawmakers to work together for the progress of over 115 under-developed districts.

    Addressing a National Legislators Conference on "We for development" at Parliament's Central Hall, he spoke about social justice in the context of all-round development.

    If all children go to schools and all households get electricity, then it would be a step towards social justice, the prime minister said.

  • Mar 10, 01:32 PM (IST)

    US President Trump briefs Chinese President Xi on North Korea developments

    US President Donald Trump today spoke with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping and briefed him on developments in ties with North Korea, the White House said.

    "The two leaders welcomed the prospect of dialogue between the United States and North Korea, and committed to maintain pressure and sanctions until Pyongyang takes tangible steps toward complete, verifiable, and irreversible denuclearisation," the White House said in a readout of the call.

    During the call, Trump expressed hope that North Korean leader Kim Jong-un might choose a "brighter path" for North Korea's future.

  • Mar 10, 01:28 PM (IST)
  • Mar 10, 12:59 PM (IST)

    GST Council approves staggered rollout of E-Way Bill from Apr 15

    GST Council has approved staggered rollout of E-Way Bill from April 15. It has also deferred reverse charge mechanism till July 1. 
    Sources told CNBC-TV18 that states will be divided into 4 lots for staggered roll out of E-Way Bill. Kerala, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu are likely to roll out Intra State E-Way Bill from April 15.

  • Mar 10, 12:49 PM (IST)
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  • Mar 10, 12:29 PM (IST)

    Deal with North Korea very much in the making: Trump

    A deal with North Korea is very much in the making, and if completed, it would be a very good one for the world, US President Donald Trump has said, a day after he stunned the global community by accepting an invitation to meet North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

    The Washington Post said Trump's personal involvement in the White House's deliberations over the world's most serious and vexing security situation "has placed a president who considers himself a master dealmaker into the most fraught faceoff of his 71 years".

    "The deal with North Korea is very much in the making and will be, if completed, a very good one for the World. Time and place to be determined," Trump said in a tweet, as experts and analysts scrambled to decipher the unexpected and surprising decision of the president.

    "A breakthrough that would reduce Pyongyang's nuclear threat would be a legacy-defining achievement. A stalemate that gives Kim a photo-op for nothing in return could fracture US alliances and be seen as a devastating embarrassment," the daily said.

  • Mar 10, 12:07 PM (IST)
  • Mar 10, 12:03 PM (IST)

    Heads of 23 nations to attend International Solar Alliance Summit

    Heads of 23 nations and 10 ministerial representatives of different countries will attend the first International Solar Alliance Summit, co-hosted by India and France, at Rashtrapati Bhavan here on Sunday.

    The summit will deliberate on finance mechanism for the promotion of solar energy, crowd-funding and technology transfer. Demonstrative projects will be showcased by different nations.

    President Ram Nath Kovind will co-host the summit with French President Emmanuel Macron. It will focus on various aspects of promoting solar energy in the 121 countries associated with International Solar Alliance (ISA).

    The summit assumes significance in view of India's ambitious renewable energy target of having 175 GW clean energy capacities including 100 GW solar and 60 GW wind power.

    "India welcomes esteemed dignitaries from Guinea, Tuvalu, DR Congo, Gabon, Gambia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius for the International Solar Alliance Summit," tweeted Raveesh Kumar, spokesperson of external affairs ministry.

  • Mar 10, 11:31 AM (IST)
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  • Mar 10, 11:05 AM (IST)

    Kejriwal writes to Modi, Rahul Gandhi; seeks appointments to resolve sealing issue

    Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Congress president Rahul Gandhi, seeking time to meet them for resolving the issue of sealing of shops in the national capital.

    In his letter to the prime minister, he stressed on bringing a Bill in Parliament to remove anomalies in the law which are the reasons behind sealing of commercial establishments, and warned that unemployment caused by the drive could impact law and order situation in the city.

    "The reason behind sealing is anomalies in the law. It is the responsibility of the Central government to remove these anomalies," the chief minister said.

    Kejriwal had yesterday threatened that he would go on hunger strike if the sealing drive is not stopped by March 31.

  • Mar 10, 10:49 AM (IST)
  • Mar 10, 10:39 AM (IST)

    Pak troops shell forward posts, villages in J&K's Poonch

    Pakistani troops resorted to heavy shelling from across the border, targeting forward posts and villages along the Line of Control (LoC) in Poonch district of Jammu and Kashmir, the police said.

    Heavy shelling from across the border in Mankote sector started around 7.40 am, prompting strong retaliation from the Indian Army, a police official said.

    He said shelling from both the sides was going on when last reports were received, however, there was no immediate report of any casualty in Pakistani shelling.

    There has been a spurt in ceasefire violations by Pakistan along the LoC and the International Border this year, resulting in the death of 21 people, including 12 security personnel.

  • Mar 10, 10:36 AM (IST)

    In every state there are a few districts where development parameters are strong. We can learn from them and work on weaker districts: PM Modiat National Legislators Conference in Parliament

    — ANI (@ANI) March 10, 2018
  • Mar 10, 10:34 AM (IST)
  • Mar 10, 10:26 AM (IST)

    Odisha to continue demand for special category status: CM Patnaik

    Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has said his government and the ruling BJD will pursue its demand for according special category status for the state.

    "We have always been demanding for special category status for Odisha. We'll do so again," Patnaik told reporters yesterday while responding to neighbouring Andhra Pradesh's demand for such status for it.

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